When walking through the town centre today after uni, I was amazed at the number of shops offering special offers and snowflaked windows, the number of gloves, hats, and scarves clad shoppes and the number of their stuffed parcels and shopping bags. This means one thing: Christmas is just around the corner!
I can’t help but feel so unbelievably cushioned in luxury. I, too, have gloves, hats and scarves, I can walk into one of those ornate shops and buy something, I was walking home to a warm house where I would be greeted by smiles and have a choice of what to eat for dinner. Later I would ring a friend, use my laptop to research a topic for a dissertation that is part of a course I have chosen to study, leading to a profession I have chosen. I would then log on to read messages from my friends and write this blog, listening to my favourite music. Then, I might paint my nails, make some hot chocolate and go to bed with a good book.
Conservative estimates place the number of people whose night will be drastically different to mine because of slavery at 27 million. 27 million too many.
How can you and I live the lives we do when others, people just like us, are trapped in a brothel, or locked in a factory for another night’s work, or trapped in the house of someone who is taking advantage of us, or being smuggled across a border in a suffocating truck with 70 other people, or being taught to kill children just like ourselves…, without doing something to reach out to these ”others”? Our others?
Because we are unbelievably wealthy and comfortable, not much on our Christmas lists is actually going to be of necessity to us. Sure, it might be nice to receive another bottle of perfume or a pair of warm socks – and I believe that we are to enjoy these gifts – but what if, instead of indulging in excess, we agreed to honour each other in contributing to the work of anti-slavery organisations?
One organisation facilitating this is International Justice Mission – “a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression” working in 12 countries. Check out this page: https://secure3.convio.net/ijm/site/Ecommerce?store_id=1481&JServSessionIdr004=f4wcxubi72.app306a and fund an aftercare package, investigative equipment, an undercover investigation, one day of legal representation, aftercare or training.
Another way to support this Christmas while giving gifts is through LOVE 146. (http://www.love146.org). Send an e-card http://love146.org/ecards and help support their work, or buy Christmas cards handcrafted by survivors in their aftercare programme https://www.kintera.org/AutoGen/Simple/Donor.asp?ievent=452136&en=jfIGJLPpF5KBLMPuEbIDLRMFJjLMJTOrE9LMI2OIKtH.
Thanks for reading!